“Invisible Little Worms”: Athanasius Kircher’s Study of the Plague
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Living through the devastating Italian plague of 1656, the great polymath Athanasius Kircher turned his ever-enquiring mind to the then mysterious disease, becoming possibly the first to view infected blood through a microscope. While his subsequent theories of spontaneous generation and "universal sperm" were easily debunked, Kircher's investigation can be seen as an important early step to understanding contagion, and perhaps even the very first articulation of germ…

Beside the point? Punctuation is dead, long live punctuation
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How we came to represent (through inky marks) the vagaries of the mind, inflections of the voice, and intensity of feeling

The butcher's shop that lasted 300 years (give or take)
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The long read: Frank Fisher, now 90, was a traditional high street butcher his whole working life – as were three generations of his family before him. How does a man dedicated to serving his community decide when it’s time to hang up his white coat?

Socialism’s DIY Computer
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The Galaksija computer was a craze in 1980s Yugoslavia, inspiring thousands of people to build versions in their own homes. The idea behind them was simple – to make technology available to everyone.

A Trip Through Paris, France in late 1890s / Un voyage à travers Paris, 1890
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Upscaled with neural networks footage from the dawn of film taken in Belle Époque-era Paris, France from 1896-1900.

On the Spot: David Carpenter
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‘Looking at medieval history through the prism of Max Weber is challenging.’

The Rules of Drinking
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The long history of drinking games – and how to win them.

Ghost Army: The Combat Con Artists of World War II
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The special exhibit Ghost Army: The Combat Con Artists of World War II, on view in the Hall of Democracy’s Senator John Alario, Jr. Special Exhibition Hall from March 5 to January 3, 2021, and curated by the Museum’s James Linn, tells the story of the 23rd and their deception operations across Europe through featured artifacts such as artwork, uniforms, an inflatable tank, and more.

Four historical crashes that lead to safer sky nowadays
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The risk of dying on a plane is one in 11,000,000, when dying in a car accident are about one in 5,000.While air travel can be associated with unprecedented safety, comfort, and speed, unfortunately every coin has a dark side. We looked at four major historical commercial aircraft crashes and the significant safety improvements made in their aftermath.  

The Bourne Collection: Online Search Is Older than You Think
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Charlie Bourne was an expert in computerized search for 40 years before Google. CHM has recently finished cataloging his unique collection of materials documenting the history of online search and information systems from the 1950s onward, supported by a generous grant from the National Archives.

How Four Americans Robbed the Bank of England
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In Victorian London, a gang of U.S. hustlers attempts a ten-million-dollar heist on the safest bank in the world. Can the detective who inspired Sherlock Holmes catch them?

The Sad, Sad Story of Laika, the Space Dog, and Her One-Way Trip into Orbit
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A stray Moscow pup traveled into orbit in 1957 with one meal and only a seven-day oxygen supply

Victorian Slum House
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Genealogists experience the harsh living conditions of their ancestors in the slums of London in the mid- to late-19th century.

The True Story of Catherine the Great
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Hulu's "The Great" offers an irreverent, ahistorical take on the Russian empress' life. This is the real history behind the period comedy

Roman Finger Counting

I recently wrote a final paper on the history of written numerals. In the process, I discovered this fascinating tidbit that didn’t really fit in my paper, but I wanted to put it somewhere. So I’m writing about it here.

The History of the Hawaiian Shirt
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From kitsch to cool, ride the waves of undulating popularity of a tropical fashion statement

A brief history of medieval magic
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From Narnia to Harry Potter, so many modern manifestations of magic come from the Middle Ages. Hetta Howes, who is writing a PhD at Queen Mary, University of London, investigates…